Friday, August 13, 2010

Pet Fox Stories: Go To Bed

Gizmo sleeps in a very large dog crate at night. Otherwise, he will typically make a destructive little nuisance of himself. He's like a toddler--constant supervision is required when he is out in the house, otherwise he gets himself into all sorts of trouble.

Well, the other night I went downstairs around 1 in the morning, only to see that Gizmo's night crate was standing wide open, it's occupant gone. I couldn't help but groan internally, as few things are as hard to catch as a Gizmo who doesn't want to go to bed for the night. Plus who knows what he might have destroyed in the few hours he had been out without supervision.

A quick search of the house found him playing by his toy-bucket, flipping one of his stuffed animals into the air and then practicing pouncing on it. I watched him play for a little bit before clearing my throat. Gizmo startled, then looked at me, gave his best doggy smile, and windmilled his tail wildly. In other words, he was doing his best "Aren't I just so cute?" look.

"Go to bed," I said, pointing at the door.

Gizmo looked at me like I was making up words.

"Bed." I repeated in a stronger tone, again pointing at the door. This time Gizmo came creeping towards me, stuffed toy in mouth, ears and tail low. He skulked along with me over to his night crate, and went right in when I opened the door. Of course, he was making little grumbling complaining noises the whole way.

A quick search of the house revealed that nothing had been destroyed; he apparently had spent the whole time he was out over playing with his toys. He's starting to mature into a very nice animal. Who knows, maybe some day I'll be able to trust him out of his crate alone, and he can play all night!

Stay tuned; tomorrow is this week's Photo Of The Week, and Monday I'm going to be discussing what foods are harmful to pet foxes!


  1. Hi Ragtatter;
    I've been interested in obtaining a pet fox, but I know I won't be able to own one for quite some time. I'd like to get a domesticated silver fox from, but unfortunately they are quite expensive. Anyway, if I did purchase a fox from them, would it be best if I didn't let any of my neighbors or family know how much I paid, just in the case that I leave the fox in an outside pen for a little while, unattended? I live in a neighborhood with quite a few people on either sides of my house are in desperate situations in which I would not put it past them to steal an expensive animal. I've had incidents where bikes, tools, and even our table was stolen off our front porch and proudly displayed a few houses down. Should I, at all, even let my animal outside unattended in a confined area? I would still provide my fox with daily walks and a good outdoor romp in my backyard, but I'm not too keep on keeping a fox indoors in the hot summer months where our house can be hotter than outdoors.
    Also, I've heard that foxes have a strong, musky smell to them that makes them almost unbearable. Will getting a fox fixed be able to help this?

  2. Hello Alyssa!
    I have to admit, Gizmo is not one of the tame Siberian Foxes (though I would love to have one!), so I don't know much about them other than info on the experiment that created them.

    Given your situation and the fact that things have been stolen from your yard, I would not personally risk leaving any pet outside unattended, just for safety reasons.

    While it is true that foxes do have a strong, musky smell, I wouldn't describe it as being "unbearable" at all. Getting them fixed will help reduce this odor, but it will not eliminate it.

    If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask!

  3. Thank you Ragtatter!
    I've also read that some vets provide a surgery where they will remove the scent glands that produce the 'skunk odor'. What is your stance on that?

  4. A fox's scent glands cannot be removed the same way a skunk's are, as they're really not the same thing. The de-scenting surgery for a skunk just removes the pair of sacs that nature has "weaponized" in skunks.

    The glands that produce the foxy smell are all over the fox's body (even including the tail!), not just one particular set of them. This glands have other functions that are important for the health of the fox, and removing them is generally not a good idea.

    Even if you did get many of these glands removed (which I don't recommend), it would not solve the scent issue, as a lot of what makes foxes "smelly" is their urine.

    In my experience, the odor is best managed by:
    A) Getting your fox neutered
    B) Weekly baths
    C) Very frequent cleaning of the fox's litter box.

  5. Yikes!
    I guess the information I got was wrong. There is a page on fox care that recommends removing the glands. Then again, this page also tells me that foxes are not cuddly and do not like being petted, or picked up, while you have proven this wrong, as well as other fox owners I've heard from!
    If you don't mind, I have a few more questions for you. :)
    1) How large is Gizmo's pen? I have a good sized area that I could keep a fox - it's about 20 x 10 feet.
    2) There is a well-known breeder of red foxes that is only two hours away from me. They legally breed and sell red foxes (and red fox morphs!) and I'm considering getting a fox in the future, in perhaps a couple of years once I've raised enough funds on the side for a fox. What should I look for when I'm trying to pick out a kit?

  6. 20x10 feet is plenty big enough for a nice fox pen. :)

    Of course, the most important thing is getting a kit that is healthy. In this case, pretty much the same things that signify a healthy puppy signify a healthy kit, so check out guides for how to pick out a healthy pup.

    As for personality and behavior, you ideally want to get a kit who is curious about you and seems interested in interacting with you. A little bit of shyness initially is normal, but avoid any kits who are timid and do not become bolder as the visit goes on, as they will be harder to socialize later. Bold kits make more social foxes.

    Try to arrange for a good long visit to spend time with the kits--at least half an hour, longer if possible. The more time you spend around them, the better a feel you will get for their personalities.

  7. Hi Ragtatter,
    I'm contacting you as the person I knew on a site called FP in which I knew you owned a pet fox. I searched forever until I could find your blog again! Anyways, I was wondering if you would mind answer a few questions I have about pet foxes, maybe in email?

    Thanks so much!

  8. I would be happy to answer any questions! You can contact me at

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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